Tag Archives For: chick lit

08 Nov, 2017

Made for Me

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Made for Me Made for Me by Kathryn R. Biel
on October 4th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Love & Romance
Published by Kathryn R. Biel
Format: eBook
Source: Owned

Michele's lack of focus in life hasn't bothered her, until the day she finds herself with mounting credit card debt, unable to afford her rent, and without a job. While her meddling family questions how she can end up in this predicament, at the age of 29, and single to boot, Michele doesn't want to admit the truth. All she wants to do is sew.
Faced with the prospect of moving back into her parents' house, Michele throws a Hail Mary pass and applies for a TV design contest, Made for Me. In order to win the contest, Michele will have to compete with nine other contestants to design the new wardrobe for Duchess Maryn Medrovovich, who's about to marry Prince Stephan of the United Republic of Montabago.
While in the seclusion of the show, Michele starts to realize where her focus in life should be, and what's truly important to her. However, a dashing competitor might just cause her to lose her focus once and for all. Can Michele keep her eye on the prize while being true to herself?

Goodreads

I’ve mostly been reviewing very serious books lately so I decided to throw in some lighter fare to prove that I haven’t lost my love of pink books.

Made for Me starts this series of related books.  Each one features a secondary character from the previous books. 

This book was pure fun.  It is set on a Project Runway knock-off reality show called Made for Me.  (The contestants aren’t allowed to mention Project Runway by name.)  Every challenge is to make a look for a commoner who is about to marry into the royal family of an European country.  The winner will win a job as her designer for a year.

The fun of this book is mixing in the competition aspect of the reality show with the chick lit standards of finding yourself and maybe finding love. 

What I didn’t like was the attitude that the main character had about a bisexual contestant.  She voiced a lot of stereotypical thoughts about him.  She assumed that he would be unfaithful in an monogamous relationship purely because he was bisexual.  That’s a stereotype that I thought we were all moving past but it still lives here.  It is challenged lightly. 

Besides that, this one was cute and fun.  I’d recommend it.


Made for Me New Attitude by Kathryn R. Biel
on March 14th 2017
Published by Kathryn R. Biel

As if it's not bad enough that I didn't win the reality design TV show I was on, try coming home to a one word note indicating that my ten-year marriage is over. So here I am, a suddenly single mother in my mid-thirties, doing what everyone advises me to do—have a fling. Except it doesn't go as planned, so I do the next best thing, which is sit on the couch and mope. But having to provide for a five-year-old doesn't let me stay home for too long. Before I know it, I'm back to dying my hair wild colors and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
Except Tony, the fling that wasn't, keeps popping up in the most unlikely places and won't leave me alone. I'd like to be strong—I'm way too old for him—but he's cute and funny and sexy and oh, my ex is getting married to a girl named Bambi. All I know is the way I'm doing things isn't working. If I want to be happy again, I'm going to need to get a new attitude.

Goodreads


This book follows another contestant from Made for Me when she goes home after the show.  Her husband has left her and she needs to decide what to do with her life.

Starting out I liked this book more than the first one.  Kira is older and has a child.  She has to get herself together and act like a grown up.  I appreciate that in a book. 

I wasn’t thrilled about the end of this book.  It took the plot to a place I’m not fond of.  The book also seemed to treat the main character of Made for Me as more flightly and unprofessional than she was made out to be in the first book.


Made for Me Once in a Lifetime by Kathryn R. Biel

Ten years ago, the Sassy Cats were at the top of the charts until Callie Smalls walked away to pursue her career in fashion and television. The other four members—Angie, Tabitha, Mandy, and Daphne—were left to fend for themselves and continue on with their lives.That is, until the day when Callie decides to book a gig for the group at a major music festival, without talking to her former band mates. Scattered across the country, at different points in life, can they rekindle the magic in the music?A soccer mom who's husband doesn't know about her past. A fading star, sacrificing all to stay in the spotlight just one second more. A party girl, challenged with her most important role yet. A tiger mom, fighting for her son. A desperate woman, unhappy and alone. A lot can change in the course of a decade. Will it be harmony or hatred for the Sassy Cats?

Goodreads


This book looks at the life of the host from the Made for Me TV show.  This was a more difficult book for me to get into because of the completely unlikeable main character.  

I also wasn’t a fan of some of the romance here.  It seemed very forced.  The relationship was argumentative and somehow that was supposed to clue us all in that they loved each other.  Not a story line that I’m very fond of. 

The relationship that I did like was the mother of the autistic child.  She had to let go of her attempts to control the situation and accept help from her husband.  That felt very realistic to me. 

Overall, I’d say read Made for Me and maybe skip the other two.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Books Set in North America
07 Feb, 2017

I Almost Forgot About You

/ posted in: Reading I Almost Forgot About You I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan
on June 7th 2016
Pages: 368
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Love & Romance
Published by Crown
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Setting: California

In I Almost Forgot About You, Dr. Georgia Young's wonderful life--great friends, family, and successful career--aren't enough to keep her from feeling stuck and restless. When she decides to make some major changes in her life, quitting her job as an optometrist, and moving house, she finds herself on a wild journey that may or may not include a second chance at love.

Goodreads

Georgia’s life is turned around when she finds out that a person she loved in college has died.  She decides to get in touch with the men she has loved to tell them that she appreciated them.

I decided to download this book on a whim before a long road trip.  It was fun and laugh at loud funny in parts.  Georgia is trying to decide what to do with her life.  Her children are grown.  Her job is boring her.  She wants to make a change but isn’t sure what that will look like.  In the meantime, she is dealing with her mother’s remarriage, her daughters’ marriages and pregnancies, and her friends deciding that they too will be making big changes.  Facing the men from her past feels like too much at times.

The first thing Georgia wants to do in her new life is to take a solo train trip from San Francisco to Vancouver and then across Canada.  That’s something I’ve always wanted to do too.  I’d love to just look at the scenery and read for a week.  It sounds like the perfect introvert trip.

The women  in her life are very against her traveling solo.  They even imply that she shouldn’t go on her trip unless she can take a man with her, even though Georgia isn’t in a relationship and hasn’t dated in years.  That annoyed me.

Bad rep alert:

There is a minor storyline about a man leaving his wife for his boyfriend.  This is discussed as the man being gay now. Bisexuality is never discussed.  That’s a missed opportunity.  The wife doesn’t want him to discuss this with their children until they are older.  It seems to imply that homosexuality/bisexuality has to remain an adults-only conversation.  This is refuted later when the kids talk about it very matter of factly. They obviously aren’t traumatized at all.

There is a man in Georgia’s life who seems to me to be very smug.  He routinely overrides what Georgia says she wants.  This is portrayed in the book as romantic and him knowing Georgia better than she knows herself.  I found it a bit creepy.


Despite its issues, I really enjoyed this book.  The depictions of female friendships are very well done.  I love her friend Wanda and her outlook on Georgia’s life.  This is a great light read when you want a book that will make you laugh.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Audiobooks
  • POC authors
29 Jun, 2016

How To Eat a Cupcake

/ posted in: Reading How To Eat a Cupcake How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
on March 13th 2012
Pages: 309
Genres: Fiction
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in California
Goodreads

“Funny, free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated, ambitious Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clair’s housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls who know nothing of class differences and scholarships could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie is now a talented, if underpaid, pastry chef who bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death. Julia, a successful businesswoman, is tormented by a painful secret that could jeopardize her engagement to the man she loves. When a chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, they must overcome past hurts and a mysterious saboteur or risk losing their fledgling business and any chance of healing their fractured friendship.”


There is a lot going on in this book.  There is a relationship between Annie and Julia.  There is the mystery of the vandalism.  There is tension between Julia and her fiance.  Annie is trying to find a recipe book of her mother’s.  It is a bit too much taken all together.  What stuck with me was this:

This book is the story of two people who were raised together but who see the world completely differently because of their racial and class backgrounds.

Annie is Hispanic and working class.  She lived in an upper class world but never was allowed to forget that she was the daughter of a servant.

Julia is white and upper class.  She can’t understand why Annie is still bitter from her experiences in high school.  She hasn’t thought about that in years.

Julia is looking for a diversion for a year and offers Annie the chance to open her dream bakery.  Despite her reservations Annie agrees because this is the only way she will ever receive funding.  They can’t even agree on where to open it.  Annie insists on the Mission but Julia is convinced that is a dangerous, lower class area.  When the bakery is vandalized repeatedly during construction it seems like Julia may have been right.

 


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23 May, 2016

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged

/ posted in: Reading Sofia Khan is Not Obliged Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
on September 3rd 2015
Pages: 456
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Great Britain
Format: eBook
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in England

"Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.' Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. 'Are your parents quite disappointed?'
Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.
As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?

Goodreads

Sofia Khan’s almost-fiance has told her that he expects them to live with his parents in side by side houses connected through a hole in the wall.  She breaks off the relationship.

Now she is forced to face her extended family again who can’t figure out what her problem is. She’s so old! She’s (gasp) 30! How will she ever find a husband at her advanced age?

Her mother says it is because she insists on wearing a hijab. Everyone else just thinks she is too picky.

When she makes a comment in a staff meeting about her dating life, her superiors decide that she should write a book about Muslim dating. She signs up for Muslim online dating sites to try to gain stories for the book. That’s in between dealing with crisis after crisis with her sister’s wedding and hiding her father’s cigarettes from her mother and trying to convince her friend not to marry a man who is already married.


I loved this book.  It was a perfect light read.  I actually stayed up way too late reading it while trying to convince myself that even though I was only 56% done I could finish it fairly soon.  The husband had to gently remind me that I had to go to work in the morning and I really should get some sleep.

Sofia had a great voice.  She’s a modern Londoner who takes her faith seriously which makes her a bit of an outsider to her coworkers and to her family.  She deals with racism on the streets of London.  She isn’t sure exactly what she wants to do when she grows up but she knows it isn’t being a live in slave to a demanding mother-in-law.  She isn’t particularly interested in learning to cook anyway.

This is Ayshia Malik’s first book.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she writes next.

21 Mar, 2016

The Sari Shop Widow

/ posted in: Reading The Sari Shop Widow The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal
on 2009
Pages: 301
Genres: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in New Jersey

Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents' sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison's bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling. . .
To the rescue comes Anjali's wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah--a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he's Indian. Rishi's cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn't felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual. . .

Goodreads

Anjali has been working in her parents’ sari shop in New Jersey since her husband’s sudden death ten years ago.  She loves designing clothes that are fancy enough for special occasions and weddings.  Her father handles the finances so she doesn’t know that they are close to bankruptcy until he calls in his dictatorial older brother from India to bail out the business.  He brings his new business partner to help.

This is a typical chick lit story with the twist that Anjali lives with her very conservative Indian immigrant family.  That made this book a bit frustrating to read from a western feminist perspective.  The male love interest is way too pushy to be appropriate in my opinion.  He figures out ways to control her whole life without discussing it with her.  At one point a meeting is called with Anjali’s mother, father, uncle, and the love interest to discuss his relationship with her.  She was not included and no one found this odd.  I actually thought that this was going to be another obstacle in the story once Anjali found out. I was hoping that she would dump him and realize that she didn’t need him to be successful. That didn’t happen.

I’m not sure if this lack of agency in her own life was an attempt to convey what it is like to be a widow in a conservative Indian family (which was discussed and which she tried to rebel against for a while) or just the writer giving in to the trope of a rich man coming to solve all the heroine’s problems. I actually found Anjali at the beginning of the story to be more interesting than she became at the end.

There was also a disturbing amount of comment on the fact that Rishi doesn’t “look Indian” and how that made him more desirable to women.

That being said, this was a setting that I hadn’t seen before in a book. This is a high end sari shop in a neighborhood in New Jersey that is populated by Indian immigrants. This is a world where brides drop fortunes to have the most lavish wedding imaginable. I would have loved to see a book that focuses more on that.

24 Feb, 2016

Inclusive Chick Lit and Bollywood Confidential

/ posted in: Reading Inclusive Chick Lit and Bollywood Confidential Bollywood Confidential by Sonia Singh
on June 28th 2005
Pages: 240
Genres: Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Set in India

After seven years of slogging through film roles too embarrassing to mention, twenty-eight-year-old struggling L.A. actress Raveena Rai has finally been offered a lead! A potentially career-making turn in a major Hollywood epic, perhaps? A meaty part in a serious drama with Oscar® written all over it? Not! To Raveena's great dismay (and her mother's delight) she's flying off to India to star in a new Bollywood extravaganza.
Oh well, a lead is a lead, after all. Never mind that it's a million humid degrees in Bombay, the Los Angeles of the East; that she has to live with a wacko distant uncle who sleeps under furniture and is the most stressed-out wannabe swami on the continent; that her director is a lecherous hack and his movie has the potential of being the very worst flick ever made anywhere! At least Raveena's leading man is the supremely sexy Siddharth, Bollywood's biggest star. But while their on-screen chemistry is electric-hot, off-screen the arrogant hunk treats her with total disdain ... or, worse still, ignores her.

Goodreads

 

Sometimes you just need something mindless to read.  This has happened to me twice in the past few months.  The first time I was mentally tired from being at a conference and needed something light and fluffy to read.  The second time I had the flu.  The second time I was on a self-imposed POC authors only challenge.  I didn’t know who to read.  I didn’t have a list of POC authors who write chick lit who immediately sprung to mind.  All I could come up with was Terry McMillian but I’ve read all of her books.

I search Listopia on Goodreads and came up the Inclusive Chick Lit list.  There are a lot of interesting sounding books on here.  The only one that I was interested in and was immediately available for download from my library’s website was Bollywood Confidential.

It served its purpose admirably.  I passed a flu addled afternoon reading about an Indian-American actress attempting to adjust to living and working in India.  It was funny and cute.

Here are some other books from this list that I’m interested in.
The Sari Shop WidowThe Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal

 

“Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents’ sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison’s bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…”


Becoming AmericanaBecoming Americana by Lara Rios

 

“Ever since an article about Lupe Perez ran in the UCLA paper, she’s become the poster child for the American Dream: East L.A. bad girl who slashed cop makes good! She goes to school full-time, works in the food court, and volunteers at a center for at-risk teens. Against all odds, Lupe has turned her life around. The thing is, she never asked for all this attention. Now, her professor wants her to write a gigantic thesis about what Americanization means to Mexican immigrants-and she’s not even sure yet what it means to her.”


Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and DiscoveriesPastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries by Bharti Kirchner

 

“Sunya Malhotra, a young American woman whose parents had migrated from India, is the head baker and owner of Pastries, a warm and cozy bakery in Seattle. Sunya loves baking and has transformed her fabulous cakes and tarts into delicious works of art. The success of her beloved bakery is put in jeopardy, however, when a chain bakery threatens to open up down the street from her. To add to her misery, Roger, her hip, Japanese boyfriend has left her for a “perfect” Japanese girlfriend and her mother has just become engaged to a man Sunya detests. Sunya hasn’t yet reconciled to the mystery of a father missing since her birth. Even a new relationship with a hot, young film director who is in town to cover the 1999 World Trade Conference, can’t help Sunya with her biggest worry – she has lost her touch for baking.”


Midori by MoonlightMidori by Moonlight by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

 

“Too independent for Japanese society, Midori is a young woman who has always felt like a stranger in her native land. So when she falls in love with Kevin, an American English teacher, she readily agrees to leave home and start a new life with him in San Francisco—as his fiancée. Kevin seems to be the perfect man. That is, until he dumps her for his blonde ex, who Midori never even knew existed. With just a smattering of fractured English, not much cash, and a visa set to expire in sixty days, Midori realizes she’s in for quite a struggle. Unable to face the humiliation of telling her parents she’s been jilted, she decides to go it alone, surprising even herself as she proves she will do almost anything to hang on to her American Dream.”


The Village Bride of Beverly HillsThe Village Bride of Beverly Hills by Kavita Daswani

 

“After an arranged marriage in her native India, Priya moves with her husband to California, where they share a house with his parents. Playing the traditional daughter- in-law role, she’s expected to clean, cook, and —because she doesn’’t immediately get pregnant—find a job as well!
But the job, at a glossy Hollywood gossip magazine, isn’’t at all what Priya’’s in-laws had in mind for a traditional Indian wife. She soon finds herself with a secret life that she must hide from her disapproving new family.”

 

Do you have recommendations for light books by POC authors?

13 Aug, 2014

Celebrating Chick Lit

/ posted in: Reading

Chick lit – Is there a more insulting literary designation? Oooh, women like this so it must be stupid. Let’s package it all in pastels.

Anyway, sometimes you need to read something light and fun. I LOVE this genre but I don’t always review them because there isn’t always a lot to say. Yep, SPOILER ALERT, there was a happy ending.

Here are two books I read recently that were fun and fast and perfect for entertaining my brain.

Practically PerfectPractically Perfect by Katie Fforde

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anna is an interior designer who is betting all her savings on her ability to renovate an historic cottage in the Cotswolds and then sell it.  The place has been gutted which is entirely against the law since it is listed on the historic register.  Now Anna has to get it back in shape and up to the standards of the prickly inspector. 

No Quest For The Wicked (Enchanted, Inc., #6)No Quest For The Wicked by Shanna Swendson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In book 6 of this series a previously hidden magical gem that gives its owner power over others is on the move.  It has been paired up with a pin that makes the wearer invincible.  Not a good combination for the people who need to destroy it.  Magical immune Katie has the best chance of getting near it with being overcome by the combined spells but the people and creatures drawn to its power are stronger than anything she’s faced before. 

22 Jul, 2014

Enchanted, Inc Series Books 2 and 3

/ posted in: Reading

Once Upon Stilettos (Enchanted, Inc., #2)Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Urban fantasy chick-lit? I guess that’s the best description.

In the first book of the series Katie Chandler found out that she is a magical immune. That means that she sees through magical spells. That’s a rare ability and makes her valuable to her magical employers. She is able to verify that no one is magically cheating during business deals.

Now in the second book of the series Katie’s parents are coming to visit from Texas. It turns out that her mother is also immune and is seeing all the weird things that Katie sees in New York like fairies and live garden gnomes. She has to hide the truth about magic from her too-perceptive mother. Just as this visit is coming to a close Katie starts to realize that her mother is seeing things that Katie doesn’t. Katie is losing her immunity which may mean losing her job.

This is where this book almost lost me. She doesn’t tell anyone about it even though she has previously been on the receiving end of some foul-play by competitors of her company. This is a plot device that makes me crazy. I hate the whole “I have a problem that I should take to a person who could help me clear it up but I will keep it to myself until it causes ten times more problems than it needs to” trope. Luckily this doesn’t last long and she does the smart thing and fesses up and it all gets fixed.

I forgive this book because I liked the ending. It mixed things up a bit for the next books in the series. I like to see series developing their characters instead of keeping them in the same static emotional state for a long time.

Damsel Under Stress (Enchanted, Inc., #3)Damsel Under Stress by Shanna Swendson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Katie has a long history of dating disasters but now she is dating a man that she likes.  So why does her fairy godmother decide to show up now?

It doesn’t help that her fairy godmother is incompetent either.  No matter how many times Katie tells her that she is fine by herself she manufactures disasters for Katie’s Prince Charming to rescue her from.  How are they supposed to get to know each other when every date is an emergency situation?

This series is a cute, quick, light read.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest.

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